People's Climate March
It’s important to know my history to understand the profound impact the People’s Climate March (the march) has had on me. When I first heard about it in spring 2014, I put it on my calendar to attend an organizing meeting in Manhattan on July 1. When I got there, I was immediately moved and inspired to see the vast number and the diversity of the people there. There was a list of subgroups (called hubs) into which we were to divide ourselves and, as a Unitarian Universalist (UU), I decided to join the Faith Hub.
From that day forward I worked intensively with my congregation on Long Island, mostly focusing on spreading the word locally to encourage other UU’s to join the march. I attended an interfaith meeting in Manhattan in late July, which attracted a large number of people from a wide range of denominations. I even gave a climate presentation at my congregation to encourage others to march. It was all so inspiring and motivating!
The day of the march was like no other day in my life. The organizers from 350.org, Avaaz and other groups had assigned different hubs to line up on different blocks. The Faith Hub was expected to be particularly large, so we were assigned to line up on West 58 Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues in Manhattan. As predicted, about 10,000 people showed up to march just in the Faith Hub alone. Tears came to my eyes as I saw the small flags being held up by each denomination so people could congregate where they wanted to. The hub was so inclusive that atheists, agnostics, pagans, and others you may not ordinarily see at an interfaith event had their own little signs and places to gather. Unitarian Universalism is a relatively small religion with only about 160,000 members in the U.S., but we were very well represented with about 1,500 UU’s from across the nation joining the march (almost 1% of our national membership!).
On September 21, 2014, 400,000 people came from throughout the country to meet in New York City and march to demonstrate their conviction that we must act decisively to mitigate the effects of climate change. The staging area for the march was on Central Park West, which is where the photos shown here were taken. The march continued from Columbus Circle across to 6th Avenue down to 42nd Street, west to 11th Avenue, down to 34th Street.
Gail Koelln wrote this for Ear to the Earth. Joel Chadabe took the photos and recorded the sounds.
A street interview
A few sounds of the march
— October 2014